Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Gotham: Anything For You Review


Anything For You may be the most perfect Gotham episode of Season Three.  Throughout the whole episode, I had a great grin on my face, marveling at just how well everything came together: the story, the acting, the cinematography (one of Gotham's greatest qualities).  Anything For You was perfect right up to the end, when we got a cruel reminder that the show has to have outside villains and stories.

Gotham Mayor Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) is apparently cleaning up the city, with his ever-loyal Chief of Staff Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) by his side, quite literally.  A little bit off to the side is Penguin's once-favorite, Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell).  Things appear to be going well for Mayor Ozzie, down to having a statue of his sainted mother put up.

This strikes me as a bit Fascist, but there you go.

As can be expected, if you want to hurt Oswald Cobblepot, hit him in his one vulnerable spot: his mother.  A new Red Hood Gang crashes his celebratory press conference, down to knocking Mother Kapelput's head off.  This blatant show of him failing in his campaign promise (and going after his mother) enrages Cobblepot, who wants the gang caught and exterminated.  No one questions his authority as Mayor or Crime King of Gotham.

Penguin would be shocked to discover that the New Red Hood Gang was really a front for Butch, who is up to a strange scheme.  Butch isn't doing this to overthrow Penguin.  It's actually a wild scheme to get back into Penguin's good graces, he being highly irritated by Nygma's influence over him.

This irritation is felt at the GCPD, where Nygma lords his power over his former coworkers with impunity.  Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) and Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are powerless to stop him.  Only Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) lets him know what she thinks when she slugs him. 

Having her fiancée be the son of Don Falcone makes her immune from any threat Nygma may throw her way.

Nygma's former detective skills comes through when he begins suspecting that the Red Hood Gang is not what it appears to be.  He grows more suspicious when Butch arrives at the hideout with all the gang blown away, and a nice jacket there, too nice and out of place for the gang.

Beating Nygma to the punch as to who is the brains of the Red Hood Gang are our favorite Gruesome Twosome: Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), aka Bonkers Babs, and her mistress/Butch's ex, Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas).  They want to bring him in to Penguin as a way to curry favor (and stop Pengy from going after Tabitha for, you know, killing Mamma Kapelput), but Butch begs for time.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) goes to his friend Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) for help in finding Ivy.  He also gets romance advice, Gordon sensing that Bruce has feelings for Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova).  Wayne and Gordon get clues about a redhead with Ivy's sweater, but the girl was in her twenties.

All these conflicting stories come together at Oswald's victory party at The Sirens, the club Babs & Tabitha run.  All the plots and counterplots come at us fast and furious, culminating in Butch's efforts to finally kill Nygma with his metal arm.  Penguin keeps getting one shock after another, but in the end chooses loyalty to Ed.  Bruce and Selina (the latter who crashes the party for a little pickpocketing) miss all the chaos going on as they are up on the roof.  Bruce confesses he has feelings for Selina that is more than friendship, and that he feels she feels the same.  Selina doesn't appear impressed...but ends up kissing Bruce anyway.

The episode ends with Jarvis Tetch (Benedict Samuels), generally known as The Mad Hatter, killing a woman dressed like his sister and using her blood to write a place card for James Gordon.

I was actually a bit disappointed with how the episode ended (and it has nothing to do with Nygmobblepot, this shipping of Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot that fanboys/girls want to go from their own fanfic to Canon).  Instead, my disappointment came from the fact that for almost the whole hour, we were shown how good Gotham is with just the regular cast in it.  The Mad Hatter bit tacked on at the end seems superfluous to the wild goings-on in this our crime-filled city, one always in darkness and gloom, far from anything that is optimistic or hopeful.

Despite this, everything in Anything For You was so wild, so brilliant, so on-fire that even this little bit could not knock it down from being the best Season Three Gotham episode, perhaps the best episode of the whole season.

Every performance bar none is simply brilliant.  Mazouz is steady and strong as a more maturing Bruce Wayne, dominating his scenes with everyone, yet also giving room for Bicondova to share a tender moment.  McKenzie not only gave a good performance, he added a subtle touch of humor (something Gordon is not known for).  When asking Wayne how long he and Selina had been an item, we see a wry slight grin coming to Gordon as Bruce denies anything going on.

The trio of Powell, CMS and RLT are also brilliant, from Penguin's monologue to his mother's statue to his tender side with Nygma and his fury at the Red Hood Gang's actions to Nygma milking his new powers over his former foes and Butch's mix of hurt and fury at their dual actions.  Richards has been liberated as Bonkers Babs, but shows she does have sense when she stops Tabitha from going to save Butch (she reads that Penguin has chosen Nygma).

Baccarin gets her own moment when dueling with Nygma, matching his bullying with her own not-subtle threats (touch her, and the Falcones will come after him, Mayor Cobblepot or no Mayor Cobblepot). 

The various twists and turns the episode took were logical and thrilling.  Gotham's cinematography continues to be used to such brilliant effect that I still cannot understand why Gotham hasn't won an Outstanding Cinematography Emmy.

Come to think of it, I can't understand why the acting hasn't been nominated either. 

Anything For You is simply brilliant from its opening to the climatic showdown.  I wasn't thrilled by the ending with Tetch, but that's such a minor detail that  it doesn't block out what has to be the best Gotham episode in this strong season.


Next Episode: Follow the White Rabbit

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